Virgin America’s Snazzy New Sneaker Has All the Amenities of Its First-Class Cabins

What, no wingtips?

Virgin America's First Class Shoe isn't just some plain old sneaker.

Hand crafted in Milan, Italy, this snazzy high-top was assembled to reflect the amenities of Virgin's first-class cabins. White leather. Wifi. Mood lighting. Video display. USB phone charger. Stainless-steel airline-style belt buckle. It's all there! (Too bad the shoes can't buckle themselves.)

"We really wanted to give people the chance to experience what it's like to fly Virgin's first class cabin with both feet still on the ground," says Mike McKay, chief creative officer at ad agency Eleven. "We spent almost eight months with Virgin America designing and executing the First Class Shoe. First, we looked at what was currently going on with wearable technology, and there didn't seem to be a shoe that could deliver this level of technology."

Here's a video explaining this promotional flight of fancy:

"The biggest challenge was finding components that were small enough to be built into the shoe," says McKay. "The cell phone charger, the video monitor and the wifi hotspot all had to be very small and lightweight enough for the shoe to be wearable and comfortable."

Because if you pay almost $100,000 to buy the world's only pair—yes, they made only one—you'd wear 'em on your morning run, right? Or maybe to soccer practice?

The shoe is being auctioned off on eBay. The current bid is $98,600. There have been 112 bids so far, and the auction ends on Sunday. Proceeds benefit Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that distributes shoes and clothing to those in need.

Hey, maybe it's time for original Virgin pilot and uber-moneybags Richard Branson to step up with a bid and launch this cause marketing/earned-media play into the stratosphere!

Now, let's bring this post in for a landing with a GIF that shows the First Class Shoe playing Virgin's loopy passenger-safety video. (Party on, flying nun!)


Virgin America First Class Shoe

Agency: Eleven, Inc.

Chief Creative Officer: Mike McKay

Creative Director: Ricard Valero, Chad Leitz

Design and Manufacturing: Rob Heppler, Searchndesign (Italy)

Sr. Copywriter: Jon Korn

Sr. Art Director: Jeremy Diessner

Social Copywriter: Julie Blakley

Social Art Director: Jacob Hellstrom

Producer: Calvin Wan

Project Management: Monique Verrier

Creative Technologist: Anderson Oliveira

Editor: Chris Caceres

Activation Strategy Director: Fiona Su

Social Media Strategist: Jessica Gast

Account Management: Lily Byrne, Lizzie Imboden

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@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.
Publish date: October 20, 2016 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT